Utah guardsman killed in Afghanistan identified

Monticello soldier. (Photo: courtesy Butler family)
Labor Day

KABUL, Afghanistan — A member of the Utah Guard was killed and 11 others were injured Wednesday during combat operations in Afghanistan.

Aaron Butler, 27, of Monticello, died “when he entered a booby-trapped building that exploded while his group was fighting members of the Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan,” according to a family friend.

Governor Gary Herbert said a 12-member team was clearing a building for safety in Eastern Afghanistan.

That building turned out to be “booby-trapped” and one member from Utah was killed and the 11 other members were injured.

Gov. Herbert said the Department of Defense will released the member’s name, possibly as early as Thursday night.

He said eight of the members are from Utah and three are from out of state.

“What we do is inherently dangerous. Our hearts go out to the families of these great soldiers, we love them and it’s very painful when we lose them,” Major General Jefferson Burton said, the commanding officer for the Utah National Guard.

According to a press release from the Utah National Guard, the service members were on a mission in Eastern Afghanistan and were partnered with Afghan Forces “aimed at further reducing Islamic State of Iraq and Syrian-Khorasan presence in Afghanistan.”

“We lost one soldier from the Utah National Guard,” Maj. Gen. Burton said. “Initially it was seven wounded, that number has gone up to 11.”

The press release states wounded personnel have been medically evacuated and that the military is working to notify the next of kin.

“We send a chaplain,” Maj. Gen. Burton said. “We send a casualty assistance officer and we stay with that family for a long, long time after the event to make sure that they are cared for.”